Derrell Olpherts is now an established top-flight winger, but his professional career has taken many turns before that was possible.
Olpherts started at Dewsbury before moving to Hemel Stags and then Newcastle – experiences which he has been extremely thankful for.
“If you’ve ever been to Hemel you’ll know what I mean when I said that I was shocked when i turned up,” Olpherts stated.
“I was happy that I took that opportunity to go back to rugby league, moving to Hemel and starting my professional pathway and I appreciate Hemel Stags for giving me that opportunity and then i went to Newcastle.
“The facilities up there are better than most Super League clubs – they’ve got everything there to become a top-flight club.
“The people that run the place are doing it the right way – not chucking money at it – they’re building it from the bottom up.”
The formidable winger played all 99 minutes of Castleford’s victory over Hull KR in the Challenge Cup last weekend and it’s something that Olpherts hopes will never be repeated.
“I was a bit sore and had a good day off to recover – I don’t think I will ever be involved in another game like that.
“It was a mad game from start to finish. We were 22-6 down and then to come back like that was great.
“Our fitness shone through in the end, it just became a slug fest.”
Olpherts warned that his Castleford side need to start a lot differently to the way they did against Hull KR.
“We started really bad against Hull KR, we can’t be starting games like that anymore.
“I’m just here to do the hard yards and the dirty work, helping the forwards out – that’s what my strongest asset is.
“Pete (Mata’utia) is a class centre so he’s going to be feeding me like he did last year, but we’ve got class players everywhere in the line-up.”
The ex-Salford winger can’t wait to be back at the Jungle at this week against Leigh.
“It’s good to not be travelling to St Helens just to play a home game. We’ll be back on our doorstep and it’ll be good to get out there.
“Our groundsman has the pitch looking class and I think everyone can’t wait for the crowd noise to be there. It’s a good feeling when the fans are that close to you you can hear everything.
Olpherts was also keen to stress that there’s still so much more to come from the Tigers.
“I still think we can kick on, it’s only game three in the league, but last week wasn’t a good performance from us at all, we just scraped through.
“We were a bit scratchy against Leeds too, so there is still more from us to come – we can be better in every area.
“We’re going for both competitions, I think that’s every team’s ambition, if you’re ambition isn’t that then you’re in the wrong job.”